Serving as Executor? You’ll Have Plenty to Do
It could happen to you: A loved one or close friend could ask you to serve as executor of their estate. You might be honoured by the request, but as executor, you’ll have many responsibilities, including:
Make final arrangements. You may need to make arrangements for a funeral and memorial service. Of course, the person who asked you to serve as an executor may have pre-planned and paid for his or her funeral. In this case, you may only need to ensure that the deceased’s plans are carried out.
Apply for probate. You’ll need to apply for a Grant of Probate, which authorizes you to settle the estate.
Hire a lawyer. If multiple properties are involved in the estate, you might need to work with a real estate lawyer. And if the deceased had established a trust, you will likely need to consult with a lawyer experienced in estate planning issues.
Apply for benefits. You’ll need to apply for all pensions, death benefits, life insurance or other benefits payable to the deceased’s estate.
Notify beneficiaries. If the deceased had life insurance policies, RRSPs or other assets that name a beneficiary, rather than the estate itself, you’ll need to notify the beneficiary of the deceased’s death.
Pay off debts. You’ll need to pay all the debts and expenses owed by the deceased and the estate.
Verify insurance. You’ll want to advise the insurance company of the death and ensure that all property is still insured.
As you can see, you’ll have a lot to do as executor. But with perseverance, good communication skills and an attention to detail, you can meet your obligations in a way that brings closure to everyone involved.